Undetected transmission in Nelson community
The number of cases in Nelson has increased sharply with over 50 cases testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday 16 February. This indicates undetected transmission in the community.
NOTE: With the increase in numbers we are shifting to aligning to the Ministry of Health case numbers. Please note there is a slight delay in reporting of numbers due to cut-off periods.
Dr Stephen Bridgman, Medical Officer of Health, Nelson Marlborough Health said, “The Nelson Marlborough community has done a good job of holding off Omicron for as long as possible.
“We are seeing a large increase in case numbers which signals undetected transmission in Nelson. We are seeing a small numbers of cases in Marlborough.
“This is not unexpected with Omicron present throughout New Zealand.
“The shift in strategy to Phase Two ‘flatten the curve’ has come at the right time for Nelson Marlborough. This shift acknowledges undetected transmission in the community and looks to ensure resources are prioritised to those who need it the most.
“Instead of locations of interest being used to identify casual contacts, we should all assume we could at any point have come into contact with COVID-19. That means we should be monitoring for symptoms and if needed getting a PCR test.
“The most common early symptoms of the Omicron variant are a sore or scratchy throat and a runny nose.
“We can reduce our own risk of infection or the risk of transmitting infection to others by following the well-known public health measures. When heading out be sure to maintain your physical distance from others. In public indoor settings make sure you wear a mask, scan-in and continue with good hand hygiene habits.
“If you are needing to sneeze or cough, do so in the crook of your elbow or cover with a tissue, then put the tissue in the bin and clean your hands.
“The introduction of digital technologies and establishment of the COVID-19 Health Hub is important to support the Phase Two strategy. With high numbers of infection, enabling those who can to self-manage through digital tools means Public Health can focus on managing high-risk settings such as Aged Residential Care.
“In Phase Two test results are received via text message. People who test positive are provided an access code and directed to complete an online form. Any information shared is private and secure.
“People will be asked to share the same information they would if they were talking to someone from the Public Health team. This allows for the identification of health or welfare needs. If the form isn’t started within 24 hours, someone will call to check in.
“In Phase Two cases and their household contacts will need to isolate for 10 days. People will receive links to information they need to self-manage. Resources on how to manage with COVID-19 can also be found on the HealthNavigator website.
“Case numbers are expected to continue to climb. We have seen from other countries that Omicron hits hard and fast. In Phase Two we are looking to minimise the spread to protect our vulnerable communities and our health services from becoming overwhelmed.
“It is not too late to vaccinate. It is not too late to work out your household plan and to have conversations with extended whānau about what you will do when you, or they, are needing to isolate.
“As a community we can support people to become as technologically enabled as possible. The more people we can have on the digital self-management pathway, the more we are able to support those who need it most.”
When and where to get tested
We ask anyone with symptoms – no matter how mild – to please get tested, even if they are vaccinated. Read about symptoms to be alert to on the Ministry of Health website:
COVID-19 testing locations
Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC) hours will be kept up-to-date on the Healthpoint website:
All locations and hours available on the Healthpoint website including by appointment opportunities at medical centres (GP), please phone ahead first:
People living in Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman are reminded to get vaccinated if they have not already. Everyone aged 5 years and over is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination. Booster doses are also now available to anyone aged 18+ who had their second dose 3 months ago.